If you are commissioning a new website, you will need to choose which CMS (Content Management System) to use and are likely to be recommended one by your developer. It is worth discussing the options at this stage thouroughly though; the CMS will be a very significant part of the infrastructure of your website, so making the wrong choice can be costly.
Part of what we do at POP is maintaining websites that we didn’t build originally or making them work more effectively, so naturally, we have seen clients with systems that are a bad fit for what they are trying to achieve.
Here are some considerations when choosing your Content Management System:
Who else supports the Content Management System?
Some systems are high-quality, widely-supported and free (eg. Expression Engine, Magento and WordPress) or carry a licence or subscription fee (Craft, Shopify). However, some are less-well supported by the developer community and/or are lower-quality (CS Cart, Perch, Open Cart, Drupal, Joomla!).
A low level of support can mean difficulties expanding the functionality of your website in the future, or it being expensive to do so.
A low level of support can mean difficulties expanding the functionality of your website in the future, or it being expensive to do so. It could also mean a frustrating content management experience and limited options if you want to part ways with your current developer.
How individual are your needs really?
Are your needs really that individual? If so, by all means invest heavily in the bespoke system that your developer is going to create around your specific needs, but also realise that you may now be tied to that developer through thick and thin and the ongoing support costs may also be significant.
Will the CMS still be a good choice in a year or two?
Some of the entry-level systems such as Squarespace and Shopify can be a great way to get online or start selling quickly and cheaply, but are you able to scale your website up alongside the demands of your business? Do you have the flexibility to configure the architecture of your website for SEO? They may be a great first step, but will restrictions make them a false economy?
Before committing to CMS, ask yourself how long you expect the website to last and what you might want to do during that period in terms of expanding its functionality.
If you are having a bespoke system built (the actual Content Management System, not just design and templates), is the cost necessary and will it be technically capable of keeping pace with your requirements?
Also, consider how long you expect the relationship with your developer to last once the honeymoon period and launch is over – do you have the flexibility to change if you want to? Will another developer or agency be able to support the website?
Head over to our projects for examples of CMS-driven websites.
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash